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Game-changing dispatch technology unveiled

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JESSUP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Emergency responders in dozens of local communities will reap the benefits of some cutting edge 911 dispatching technology. Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller explains how some high-tech software will help benefit responders and the cities they serve.

It’s considered the most cutting-edge dispatching service available. On Wednesday, Lackawanna County 911 Emergency Services officials unveiled a major software overhaul to the county’s existing Computer Aided Dispatching system, or “CAD” for short at the Jessup facility. Billed as fast, efficient and effective, the improvements link first responders in the field with vital information like never before. Lackawanna County 911 CAD Supervisor Tom Taylor said, “They have the information in real time of what is going on with an incident as the call taker in the dispatch center is speaking with the caller.”

It can map out the best routes to a dispatch scene and even take into consideration road closings. Through color-codes enacted by computer keystrokes, it reveals which responders are available, who’s en route and when they’ve arrived on scene. 

Police cars equipped with computers like one demonstrated by Scranton Police Department Lt. Leonard Namiotka link responders with 911 dispatchers and other police departments throughout the county. Combined with an add-on Records Management System software package, it can store endless information including a history of previous calls to a dispatch location. “This is a huge game changer,” said Lt. Namiotka. “Now the officer has so much more information available to him to respond appropriately to that incident. If there’s any weapons involved, if there are any hazards involved, if there’s someone who’s prone to be aggressive.”

The improved CAD system does more than just share information with communities within the county. That valuable information can also be shared with points far away and help to solve crimes and other emergency situations. Scranton Police Chief Carl Graziano said, “Crime has no borders. You know, criminals don’t stop at the borders.” Officials believe better information through better technology will make for safer outcomes countywide. 

So far, 15 of Lackawanna County’s 27 police departments are using the CAD technology. The rest will be on line by the end of June. The county used a state grant and existing savings to cover the nearly three-quarters of a million dollar upgrade.

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